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Inspecting the Inspectors
Inspecting the Inspectors
this year will see the completion of the first phase of audits across egypt of all diving and watersports centres and safari
boats. photojournalist Brendan o’Brien followed the CDWs auditors for three days to find out what it takes to meet the grade.
orca Dive Club in el gouna - an impromptu observation of an opern Water Course
‘What gets measured gets done’ is an old but proven principle. But is of several months. each inspector, selected for their qualifications and
there room in the diving world for a compulsory inspection process experience in the diving industry, is allocated a number of dive centres
in what some might argue is an already over regulated industry? the and safari boats to inspect, where they will see the process through
egyptian government thinks so and through the CDWs the european from start to finish.
underwater Federation standards for recreational diving services (en
14467 / iso 2480) are in the final stages of being rolled out across all During one of the first visits i observed i asked Hazem about the ethos
egyptian dive centres and safari boats. behind the inspections, are they there simply to make judgements
against the criteria or is there more to their role? ‘We’re not just here
But what does this mean for those who work in the industry - an to inspect,’ said Hazem. ‘We want to advise and support and will make
additional layer of annoying and costly bureaucracy or help to as many visits as we think are necessary before we have to make
improve standards? a judgement.’ this was an attitude i found common among all the
a few months ago i spent four days with the CDWs inspectors as
they carried out inspections of dive centres and safari boats in the i also found the inspectors to be very open about the process – they
Hurghada area. i was allowed an unprecedented level of access, which didn’t hold back on providing helpful information or in finding the
enabled me to observe the inspectors in action. time to spend with a dive operator to help them put systems in place
to help them meet the standards.
the CDWs was established in mid 2007 under the auspices of the
egyptian tourist Federation to achieve a number of objectives. prior to a first visit, dive centres or safari boats are provided with
Without doubt its biggest challenge was to ensure all 20 dive documents and guidance as to how the audit process will be
centres and 80 safari boats operating in the red sea met the newly conducted and what areas will be covered. these are primarily:
adopted standards. at the time of its launch the new chairman of information about the diving service; risk assessments; emergency
the CDWs board, Hesham gabr, said: ‘i look at the audit process as procedures; diving equipment; documentation; training; and the
one of quality improvement.’ However, some dive centre and safari provision of diving and the rental of equipment. unfortunately i
boat owners weren’t initially as optimistic. laurenz from mena Dive in missed the opportunity to join the inspectors for an initial visit,
safaga remembers the meeting when Hazem, one of the inspectors, but i did get to join them in the latter stages of inspection, from
announced the introduction of the standards. ‘there was lots of those almost ready to achieve certification to those that were really
arguing about whether this was needed or not,’i can still remember struggling.
Hazem saying how this wasn’t something up for discussion, the
standards were coming and they were compulsory,’ laurenz told me. the biggest issue many dive operators had was with their diving
equipment and the records required to demonstrate they were safe to
Before a dive centre or safari boat can achieve its ‘iso’ certification they use. each inspector i observed appeared to have inbuilt radar for faults
have to go through a two to four day audit over what may be a period that needed rectifying with common themes of missing dustcaps on
issue 2 august / september 2009
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